How Mindfulness Is So Good At Connecting Well-Being To Academic Achievement In Class.

There is a rhythm to all complex behaviour. When energy is expended it must be restored (stay with me here). The heart beats and rests, we breathe in and out, we work and rest (please stay with me). Learning is no exception – it is very fatiguing.

It requires tension and the right degree of anxiety to go out and meet the challenge, to adapt, and to accommodate. No muscle in the body can function for more than a few seconds without rest. The secret of any continuous endeavour, any task requiring effort and perseverance, like learning is the secret of rhythmic restoration of strength. It is here that mindfulness comes into play.

Learning in a mindful pedagogy classroom follows a rhythm of challenge and relaxation, tension and reward. See below.

The tension line. Proposal, Confirmation, Relaxation, Challenge, Error, Self-correction, Confirmation.

Stress line

On the other hand, in a mindlessness, competitive, non-compassionate classroom the tension line is quite different. It waits on outside relief and if this comes not as help but as rebuff, as is too often the case when you are an inept learner, it may look like this:

mindless line

It is our way as educators to value the cognitive and devalue the emotional. The emotional accompaniments – or should we say, the emotional heart – of any human activity refuses to be ignored. No matter how meticulous we are about getting things intellectually right, unless things are emotionally right, human activity is at a tragic disadvantage.

This is why the first aim of a mindfulness pedagogy is so important.

  1. Well-being of staff & children in the school. To nurture in children a sense of well-being, self-esteem & self-examination.
  2. Create a mindfulness environment school-wide. To help children build and then enjoy a community and to understand the concept of interdependence.
  3. Explore the relationships between learning & mindfulness. To help children become enthusiastic & life-long learners & achievers.

Through the promotion of the school as a community for children, we should aim to attend to children’s capabilities, needs, hopes and anxieties in the here and now and promote their mental, emotional and physical well-being and welfare. We should believe in a strong sense of self and a positive outlook on life are not only desirable in themselves; they are also conducive to learning and to engage wholeheartedly in all kinds of worthwhile activities and relationships. Well-being also means attending to future fulfilment and not just present needs and capabilities. This means “holding everyone to their highest possible potentials” (Stephen Batchelor).

Empowerment & Autonomy

We should also aim to empower children through the acquisition of knowledge, skills, personal qualities and an understanding of compassionate living to discover and lead rewarding lives and right livelihoods and find meaning for themselves in a continuously changing world. We should have confidence that children will be able to discriminate in their choice of activities and relationships and to see beyond the surface appeal of appearance, fashion & celebrity to what is of abiding value, and retain their own centre when faced with shifting values & relationships.

To read more about the three aims of a mindful pedagogy click here.

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5 thoughts on “How Mindfulness Is So Good At Connecting Well-Being To Academic Achievement In Class.

  1. Tina Gibson August 20, 2015 / 10:48 pm

    Wonderful. I particularly resonate with the waves of the first diagram. Just how our heart beats. I will continue to be mindful of this rhythm when teaching mindfulness and compassion.
    With much heartfelt appreciation, Tina

    Like

  2. Tibo August 21, 2015 / 11:28 am

    Hello,

    Interesting, I just discovered your website I actually hadn’t thought we already had people doing real work pushing mindfulness in schools and education, great stuff, really it’s all we need !

    I also like your concept of tension line since there’s a perpetual movement of emotions / tensions

    Ok nice hopefully i’ll follow ur work more closely now that I know about it 😉

    Like

  3. Stephen Frost August 21, 2015 / 9:26 pm

    Wonderful to see these ideas being shared on here, thank you for doing so openly! I have been meditating for over a decade and a master practitioner of NLP for around the same length to time, both things have led me to deal with people and interactions in a very different way than I ever used to. Many years ago now I quit what I was previously doing to follow a dream of living in Japan, the easiest way to do so was to teach English as a second language as the demand for native teachers was so high. Much of the training was in the standard way teaching is done traditionally in so much as it is mindless and competitive.

    Having had the experience and other training with NLP and meditation I decided to adapt my teaching style in the classroom, and the results were wonderful. Students previously labelled as “problem students” was relatively easy, when given the caring and mindful approach, encouraging them and empowering them they shone and so did their results.

    Encouraging a mindful approach does so much more than improving results within a classroom, it broadens students capabilities throughout their lives, something which is fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing this post to help encourage teachers in the mindful way of teaching, and thank you also for progressing the move to a far stronger learning environment.

    Like

    • @mindfulpedagogy August 21, 2015 / 9:32 pm

      Thank you so much Stephen. So great to hear you’ve been doing it for such a long time.

      Like

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